April 19, 2012
No. 44 Northwestern (13-8, 6-3 Big Ten) at Purdue (10-13, 2-7 Big Ten)
Friday, April 20
Schwartz Tennis Center
West Lafayette, Ind. 1 p.m.
Live Results: Purduesports.com
No. 44 Northwestern (13-8, 6-3 Big Ten) vs. No. 36 Indiana (18-8, 5-4 Big Ten)
Sunday, April 22
Vandy Christie Tennis Center
Evanston, Ill. 12 p.m.
Live Results: NUsports.com
Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern will continue its push to return to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009 when it concludes the 2012 regular season this weekend with matches at Purdue Friday and versus No. 36 Indiana at the Vandy Christie Tennis Center Sunday.
With six wins in Big Ten play already secured, Northwestern has matched its best conference win total since 2009, coincidentally the last season the 'Cats appeared in the NCAA Tournament. NU has not won seven Big Ten matches since 2001 under former head coach Paul Torricelli; the Wildcats have not collected eight wins in league play since 1998.
Peaking In The Polls:
The Wildcats have continued their steady ascent in the Campbell's/ITA poll as they check in at No. 44 nationally in this week's edition. That marks Northwestern's highest rank of the season and its best since being slotted 36th on Jan. 26, 2010.
Raleigh Rolls Along:
Sunday's match against Indiana marks the culmination of the regular season careers of three members of Northwestern's squad. Seniors Josh Graves, Tobias Reitz and Eric Spector were members of the last Wildcats team to make an NCAA Tournament run when they were freshmen in 2009. The trio has combined to be part of 52 wins and counting in NU history.
Sophomore Raleigh Smith
continues to position himself as one of the most prolific producers in Northwestern's lineup this season. Smith leads the roster with 15 wins in dual matches and is tied for the team lead with six wins in Big Ten play. Last time out against Ohio State's No. 58 Peter Kobelt, Smith notched NU's lone singles win against the 2nd-ranked Buckeyes. Smith lost the opening set, 4-6, but rallied to win 6-4 in the second before taking the super tiebreaker, 11-9.
Of all the 'Cats, junior Chris Jackman possesses the best record over the last 10 matches with a mark of 7-3. The Florida native has eight wins overall this spring and is tied for the best record in Big Ten play at 6-3.
Northwestern boasts two players on its current roster who played together before coming to north to Evanston. Chris Jackman and Raleigh Smith played together in high school at Gulliver Prep in Miami, Fla. The school won three Florida State Championships during Jackman's tenure at the school and a fourth straight during Smith's senior season. Jackman was the Florida Player of the Year in 2008 and Smith was a three-time individual champion.
Spencer Still Ranked:
NU junior Spencer Wolf remains ranked in this week's Campbell's/ITA singles poll, coming in at No. 124. Wolf has 13 dual wins this spring, seven of which have come at the No. 2 position. The junior also has five wins in Big Ten play to his credit.
The Wildcats have received tremendous contributions from the three-member freshmen class this spring. Alex Pasareanu has been a fixture in both singles and doubles play boasting a combined 24 wins in the two formats. He is one of three players with double-digit singles win (11) and along with partner Raleigh Smith, leads the team with 13 doubles triumphs.
Nikhil Jayashankar won seven nonconference clashes and he and classmate Alberto Zanotti won the only doubles match they played together against UIC on Jan. 15.
Number One Stunners:
Northwestern's top doubles tandem of Josh Graves and Spencer Wolf pulled off a monumental upset in the team's last match at No. 2 Ohio State. Graves and Wolf went toe-to-toe the nation's top-ranked doubles team, Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola, and took down the Buckeyes, 8-6, to earn the coveted doubles point for the Wildcats.
With the upset victory, Graves and Wolf cracked the Campbell's/ITA doubles poll this week for the first time this season. They're ranked No. 74 in the latest edition.
Scouting the Boilermakers:
Purdue begins the weekend with 10 wins to its credit this spring with two of those coming against Big Ten rivals Penn State and Iowa.
Northwestern leads the all-time series against the Boilermakers by a significant margin. The Wildcats have won 62 of the 84 matches, but have dropped the last two and three of the last four.
The Hoosiers begin play this weekend (Friday versus Illinois) with 18 wins overall, second most in the Big Ten this season. IU has had its ups and downs in conference play and currently sits near the middle of the pack with a record of 5-4.
Josh MacTaggart has the most wins in singles play this spring with 18. The junior from England has occupied the No. 2 position in all but one contest this spring.
Indiana, like the 'Cats features a doubles team that is nationally recognized. IU's Isade Juneau and Jeremy Langer are 15-11 overall and ranked No. 90 on the latest list.
Northwestern leads the all-time against both of this weekend's opponents. NU leads the Boilermakers, 62-20, and there have been two ties. The Wildcats hold a narrow edge over Indiana in that series, 41-39.
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